Solway Sharks Juniors welcomed Dundee to Dumfries Ice Bowl in the latest of their run of games.

The Oakbank Services sponsored Under 16s were first, and despite the team being depleted by injuries they got off to a blistering start. Liam Stenton drew first blood, scoring a short-handed goal from Lewis Houston after just 2 minutes. Houston was involved in the next goal, also short-handed, scored by Captain Kieran Hair less than a minute later. Dundee pulled one back a few minutes later, slipping the puck past Rebekah Scott very much against the run of play, only for Houston to reply with a solo effort within six seconds. Ruairi Lockerbie was next on the scoresheet, again from Houston, to make it 5 goals within the first 6 minutes, 4 of them to Solway. The players, and the crowd, took a deep breath and settled down to more solid, cohesive hockey, and the score remained static until the end of the period.
Dundee were first to score in the second, before Houston responded with another solo effort, marking the start of another goal-scoring spree. Minutes later a Hair single-handed goal added to the tally, before a Stenton – Matthew Watters combination sent Houston goalward for his third and the team’s seventh. Rebekah made way for Joshua Leuvennink between the pipes, and he quickly found himself under fire as Dundee decided to test him out. The visitors eventually managed to find a way past the defence and into the net, making the score 7 -3 to Solway at the end of the period.
The third period, despite some more fierce physical play from both sides, saw much less in the way of goals, with Dundee scoring a couple of minutes from the end, to see the game finish 7-4 to Solway. Lewis Houston was deservedly named man of the match. After the game coach Jamie Kerr shared his thoughts.
“The guys dug in and ground out a scrappy win. To have such a small squad and be down two top quality contributors and leaders in Lewis Chalmers and Scott McCutcheon, and then lose Ruiari Lockerbie to injury as well, was a real test of character. However, the guys that play unsung roles for us stepped up, and Lewis Houston and Kieran Hair showed real leadership with the team. We now have a month to regroup and recover, and hopefully welcome everyone back in time for our next game.
Overall though, delighted to take the points against a clever Dundee side who were trying to agitate our guys into penalties, without getting any retaliation back. It says a lot for our guys maturity that they managed to keep their cool and keep playing hockey.”

The Under 14s were next up, in what proved to be a very different game. Gone was the solid, cohesive performance of last week, and scrappy game with missed chances followed. Dundee were swift to capitalise, and Solway soon found themselves 3 goals down. Captain Liam Stenton managed to get on the end of a Brodie McGinty – Joe Little move to score one and restore a bit of honour for the young Sharks, but Dundee rapidly replied with another goal themselves, and end of the first period saw Solway 4 – 1 down.
The second stanza saw Dundee continue to dominate, scoring 3 more goals in rapid succession, the Solway defence and Joshua Leuvennink in goal finding themselves overwhelmed by a relentless Dundee attack force. Stenton scored another for Solway with a solo effort, only for the visitors to come right back with another of their own, and this period finished with Dundee now 8-2 ahead.
The third period saw Solway play more defensively, but despite their best efforts they fell victim to another 2 Dundee goals, and the game finished 10-2 to the visitors. Mekhi Caven was rewarded for his typically steadfast performance in defence with the man of the match award. Coach Martyn Mitchell said after the game, “I don’t know what happened to us today, we were never in the game. I said to the team before the game that I was confident we could take something from this game, but we were never really in it. Even a stern talking to between the periods did nothing to lift their game. Thankfully Josh was on form or it could have ended up being a cricket score. We’ve got a weekend off to sort things out, and I know the team will come back stronger and play the way they are capable of.”

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